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  1. David Douglas

    I am very supportive of all legitimate and community supported activity that conserves our ecological, historical and heritage resources. All projects argued and proposed on the basis of conventional rational economics must place the irreplaceable resources that we have received in trust at the head of the line, and sustain them for future generations. We have received them in trust, not as disposable economic assets. They, by definition, are like irreversible ecological processes. Once consumed in the narrow calculus of finance and economics (which have their own rationality, that is to be acknowledged), they are gone. This is the issue of limits that our received “science” of Economics does not accommodate. The precious ecological systems of this area, the old bridge, the views, the restful ambiance, the historical and heritage sentiments and feelings that this place affords us are not to be traded through the narrow calculations of industrial traffic efficiency, a marginal net increment (if any net increment?) to the Municipality’s tax revenues, shorter (if any?) commuter or shopping traffic times, or other posited “benefits”.

    The argument that “old” is problematic and has to be replaced is to challenged. The argument that with urban growth we have to consume our ecological capital is false and is proven false around the world. The argument that we should transfer public conservation resources in these, of all times (!!), is at best astounding. We should be going in the opposite direction – increasing our living space densities, preserving and expanding our public lands, increasing our deciduous tree cover four-fold, conserving core and corridor lands for our rapidly decreasing wildlife, reducing our environmental footprint, and so on. These cannot be left as vacuous well wishing and rhetoric. We do this by individual and concrete actions, bit by bit. And this is another instance where we have to act. Guelph has seen far too much despoilation of our heritage and ecological resources, and far too many “practical” and short term decisions made without vision, courage and informed foresight. This is yet another opportunity to be creative, to think holistically, to sustain what we have received in trust.

    I fully support the collaborative search for alternatives to the conventional, engineer-informed new bridge, precious land consumption, and related proposals and put our heritage, environment and the public realm up front – for once.

    David J.A. Douglas
    October 5, 2015

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